"This App is a way for the Church and our Holy Father to reach the growing number of the world's people who have access to handheld mobile devices -- a way to connect as the one Body of Christ," said Father Andrew Small, OMI, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. "We're delighted our new Holy Father will 'unlock' the new App. What a great use of the Keys of St. Peter!" The launch will take place during an audience with the Pope of the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies who are participating in the annual meeting to distribute collected funds.
Over three-quarters of Americans age 43 and under now use a smartphone. Research suggests mobile technology could benefit education in poor countries.
"The response of the Pope's Twitter account has been phenomenal," continued Father Andrew. "Jesus called people to be His followers, and if used properly, the new media allow for a more intimate relationship between peoples and nations, fostering peace and mutual understanding."
The App is currently available for download but remains in a "locked" position. During Friday's event, the Pope will press a button marked "Evangelizantur" which is a Latin phrase meaning, "They have been evangelized." Subsequently, a push notification will be sent to all those who have downloaded the App indicating that the Pope has launched the MISSIO App.
"Ever since his election, Pope Francis has reached far beyond the Vatican, touching people's lives in simple and meaningful ways," noted Father Andrew. "His great message of unity and communion will be expressed in this unique event, as he puts the missionary Gospel in the pockets of millions of people, young and old, rich and poor, believer and searcher."
"With mission stories available in eight languages -- English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic -- the App fits very well with the Church's celebration of Pentecost, when the disciples began preaching the Good News in all tongues and dialects," he added.
Supported by Apple and Android devices, the App provides the Pope's daily homily, and includes news from Rome and around the world. Sources are FIDES, the international news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and the Vatican's own news site, News.va. There are videos as well, from Catholic News Service and News.va. MISSIO App includes photographs from various Missions around the world, intended to encourage personal reflection and prayer. There is also the opportunity for mission support.
To create the MISSIO App, the Pontifical Mission Societies commissioned Little i Apps, LLC, an App development company headed by Catholics committed to making connections, when able, between digital and sacred spaces, contributing in this way to efforts for the new evangelization.
The MISSIO App may be downloaded free wherever Apps are available.